The countdown to Portsmouth Comic Con is on, with Doctor Who guests and events aplenty

Portsmouth Comic Con – International Festival of Comics 2023

Portsmouth Comic Con – International Festival of Comics is gearing up for a spectacular comic extravaganza on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th June 2023 at Portsmouth Guildhall. The line-up, events and attractions have something for everyone as the biggest family-friendly Comic Con of its kind makes its return, from amazing comic artists and celebrity guests to panels and workshops, themed experiences, and an incredible range of comic merchandise.  

This year is a special one for Doctor Who, and to celebrate the 60th anniversary of TV’s longest-running science fiction series, the fifth and sixth Doctors, Peter Davison and Colin Baker, and Doctor Who companion Nicola Bryant, who played Peri, will be appearing throughout the weekend.

Fans of the Time Lord can also expect an extra-terrestrial experience at the Doctor Who – 60th Anniversary Celebration, as they enter through the TARDIS to a time-altering universe and display of Daleks, Davros, monsters and more.

Mike Collins (2023)
Mike Collins

As ever, Portsmouth Comic Con delivers an incredible array of international and homegrown comic creators, including Esad Ribic, Pepe Larraz and Dave McKean, plus Anna Morozova, Gary Erskine, Katie Schenkel, Andy Fanton, Laura Watton-Davies, Ver, Marc Laming, Clark Bint, Aaron Moran, Paul Fry, Paul Cornell, John Freeman, Cavan Scott, Alec Worley and Alison Sampson.

Also new to the line-up is Mike Collins, whose credits not include the Doctor Who comic strip, but he’s also been a storyboard artist in the show itself, and among other things, he’s also currently writing some Star Trek short stories for Star Trek Explorer, and providing the lead illustrations, too. His many credits include work for DC, Marvel, 2000AD, Self Made Hero, Doctor Who Magazine and IDW.

Also on the guest list is Will Morris, writer and artist of the historical-fantasy series Gospel for Image Comics, with artwork also due to feature in an upcoming issue of Time Before Time.

Laura Howell
Laura Howell

Laura Howell will also be at Portsmouth Comic Con – the first woman to draw for the BEANO, and currently the artist in charge of everyone’s favourite pigtailed powerhouse, Minnie the Minx, who turns 70 this year! 

Many of these comic creators will feature in a wide-ranging programme of panels, roundtables and drop-in sessions. The panels will cover varied topics from the world of comics including Getting Started as a Creator, Humour in Comics, The Role of the Editor, Star Wars, and an exclusive Doctor Who panel featuring the celebrity guests (on Sunday). 

Other celebrity guests include Richard Jacques, an Ivor Novello Award winner and GRAMMY- and BAFTA-nominated composer who has scored blockbuster franchises including ‘Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy’; and Helen Quigley and Andrew Mark Sewell from audio drama production company B7 Media, publishers of the recently-released Hancock: The Lad Himself graphic novel, by Stephen Walsh and Keith Page, and the SF mini-series Pilgrim, by John Freeman and Neil Edwards, coloured by Martin Baines.

Find out more about B7 Media's Pilgrim project at Portsmouth Comic Con 2023 - cover art for #2 here by Alex Ronald
Find out more about B7 Media’s Pilgrim project at Portsmouth Comic Con 2023 – cover art for #2 here by Alex Ronald

Dream Team Portsmouth are this year’s cosplay partners and will be bringing everyone’s favourite comic characters to life, as well as hosting the always popular interactive and inclusive cosplay competitions across the weekend. 

Whether you’re looking for arts and crafts or immersive sci-fi adventures, there’s plenty in store, too.

The Jurassic Experience, new for 2023, invites dinosaur devotees and fans of the Jurassic Park film franchise to step inside the park gates to a world of fun and fascination, while the Star Wars Experience, created by Joker Squad, will transport visitors to the marketplace of Tatooine. Enjoy photo opportunities with screen-accurate props including a Pod Racer and Han in Carbonite or immerse yourself in a drumming experience with an Ewok, and interact with characters from across the Star Wars universe.

Meanwhile, the Steampunk Galleon will submerge you in a retro-futuristic Pirate Steampunk world. Led by The Gosport Steampunk Society, you can expect the traditional spoils of a Steampunk affair, including the requisite Tea-Duelling, but with a swashbuckling twist.

Plus, join Seekers Create’s ‘Lost World’ trail to find hidden clues on your intrepid journey to feature on the ‘Dino Doodle’, a collective Comic Con community mural that will feature on after the event so those involved will also become published artists.

Marking the 40th anniversary of the raising of Mary Rose, King Henry VIII’s Tudor warship, which is exhibited at Portsmouth Docks, you will be able to handle genuine artefacts from the world’s largest ever underwater excavation, and try your hand at Tudor games – have a go at archery and a giant nine men’s morris!

From back in time to the futuristic, the University of Portsmouth is taking its VR lab on the road with AR, VR, XR and more. Come and explore the future of gaming and learning, try your hand at painting from a new perspective with VR Tilt Brush, or slash the beats of music in the Beat Saber Tournament. And of course, long-time partners DICE Portsmouth and their table-topped games, and Game Over, with their retro gaming consoles, will both be returning.

Drop in to Speakers’ Corner, hosted by Express FM, where a continuous programme of guests will give informal insights on the comic industry and behind the scenes of Portsmouth Comic Con. Hear from the event producers, special guests and the partners who make Portsmouth Comic Con the event that it is and find out how to make your own cosplay or start your own podcast. You can also join in on the fun and be part of the audience for Express FM’s live radio show and podcast recordings. 

Saturday is Villains Day, and will shine a light on the comic world’s greatest villains, without whom there would be no adversity to overcome and no superheroes! Meet the characters we all love to hate and celebrate the evil genius of their dastardly plans. On Sunday, it’s all about the Multiverse, a place where everyone is encouraged to be whatever or whoever they want to be. There will be Villains-themed and Multiverse-themed dance workshops with Abstract Dance, and across both days, the stage programme and workshops will include Jedha Juniors classes, providing Star Wars-themed workshops; cosplay parades for under and over 12s, hosted by Dream Team Portsmouth; cape movement workshops; and a Rebels vs Imperials gameshow and comic quizzes; Wrap up the day with party dances in the style of Guardians of the Galaxy‘s Groot with ‘Groove like Groot’.

A sell-out event in previous years, do not be disappointed and miss out on getting your tickets – selling fast at

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The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.

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